How to overcome the guilt?

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My mom slipped into a coma on Dec 30th I was told by the doctors her only chance was to be placed on a ventilator so her body to regain it's strength.i refused since she had a dnr and we had discuss this was not an option. Two days later she woke up. On the 10th they finally removed her bipap and was eating soft foods. I have been her caregiver for nearly 10 years and hearing the good news I spent a down day relaxing at home thankful I had made the right decision. At 0024 monday morning I got the call she had taken a turn for the worse. By the time I got to the hospital she had passed away. I can not stop thinking if I had taken the doctor advise would my mother would still be with me. I wish now I fully understood what dnr meant and it's consequences.

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I completely agree.

Specifically to answer your point about what if you'd taken the doctor's advice? Probably nothing would have happened differently. You say his advice was that she needed the ventilator to regain her strength. Well, no doubt that's what he hoped might happen. But it was Hail Mary territory that he was talking about; and besides, Nature did pretty much the same thing by letting your mother rest in a coma from which she recovered.

it would have been completely wrong to disregard her wishes (technically assault, in fact, besides the disrespect). AND it almost certainly would have made no difference to the outcome.

But I'm so sorry that you didn't have time to reach her. That must have been a terrible blow. You will have heard, I'm sure, that some individuals need to be alone when they pass? Given the time when it happened, the wee small hours, perhaps your mother found that she wanted to slip away quietly. I'm so sorry for your loss.
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I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a good relationship with your mother - a priceless gift.

What you are feeling is not guilt. It's far more complicated.
This comes up *a lot* on this site. It happens to people whose loved one was in hospice for months and then died. It happens to people whose loved one was taken instantly. It's part of the grieving process.

Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings you are having. It might help to name them very specifically and journal about them. There's something really therapeutic about writing it down.

You will feel different things at different times every day. Please remember that you have done nothing wrong, immoral, illegal, or regrettable.

My father died when I was 15 after a very long decline. We knew it was coming, but even now 30 years later, it's just as raw as day 1 sometimes. Eventually you can move it over to the side, to the back of the closet. You'll run across your grief sometimes at the most unexpected times and it will be surprising. Be kind to yourself.
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Ditto to Eyerishlass and Freqflyer. You respected her wishes and did the right thing (and legally you could not have overridden the DNR). She rallied long enough to spend time with you and "say goodbye". Putting her on the ventilator would just have prolonged the inevitable but all the signs were there that she didn't have much time.
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You followed your mom's wishes. She didn't want to be placed on a ventilator and she didn't want to be resuscitated. And as freqflyer pointed out had you agreed to the vent you wouldn't have had quality time with your mom. That wouldn't have been quality time. She would have been unconscious and probably never have been able to come off the ventilator, putting you in the position of having to make a decision to have it turned off.

Legally you couldn't have bypassed the DNR. She signed it, those were her wishes, and none of the staff could have gone against the DNR either. You honored her wishes. You did the right thing.
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Betty, please note in many patients they will get worse to a point where you think it is their last day.... then the patient will rebound, start eating, maybe even start conversations, etc.... then out the blue they will go down hill quickly, then pass.

I know it is easy to say stop feeling guilty, but saying it doesn't help... but learning the medical reason to why something had happened makes it easier to deal with. If you had taken your doctor's advice how much longer to do think Mom would have lived? Another 2 weeks, another month? When she first slipped into a coma, that would have been a warning signal telling you she doesn't have much time left. Any extra time, would it had been quality time? Probably not.
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